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The University of Southampton

BIOL2022 Immunology, Infection and Inflammation

Module Overview

The course intends to give students an introduction to basic immune mechanisms. The start of the course emphasizes on the basic principles of immunology, including the cells and molecules that make up the innate and adaptive immune system. This first part aims to show how the immune system integrates a wide variety of different mechanisms to defend against the threats of multiple pathogens. By examining the production of monoclonal antibodies we will show how the immune response can be exploited to provide valuable tools for scientific research and treatment of disease. The second part of the course deals with how the immune system operates in a variety of disease situations and seeks to reinforce basic immunological principles.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to give second year students an introduction to basic immune mechanisms and to illustrate those principles using examples from different diseases. We aim to take a cross disciplinary approach to immune mechanisms focusing on cellular and molecular mechanisms in immunology, inflammation and infection.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognise the key cells and mediators of the innate immune system and the mechanism of their recruitment to sites of inflammation
  • List the types of vaccines currently in use, those under trial and compare and contrast their beneficial properties or limitations.
  • Outline how innate immune cells responds to bacterial LPS and cytokines
  • Define the roles of B & T lymphocytes in acquired immune responses
  • Identify how lack of immune tolerance can lead to autoimmune diseases.
  • Describe how pathogens can cause disease and identify the strategies adopted by enterohaemorrhagic E.coli.
  • Define how HIV-1 infection can lead to AIDS and describe the therapeutic strategies to prevent clinical progression
  • Describe the immune responses associated with parasitic infections
  • Describe how monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies can be produced and explain their importance as diagnostic and therapeutic tools
  • Explain the principle of vaccination and outline its historical origins


The module aims to give students an introduction to basic immune mechanisms and is highly recommended for students intending to study immunology further (e.g. Biol3037). Lectures 1-6 of the module provide a basic overview of the innate and acquired immune system and the molecular and cellular mechanisms employed to combat inflammation and infection. The following lectures apply the basic mechanisms to various disease states, including HIV-1, enterohaemorrhagic E. coli, parasites and incidences of impaired immune recognition that results in autoimmune diseases. The antibody molecule is examined in more detail: the mechanism of its diversity and roles in biotechnology, diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Finally, the course concludes on the topic of vaccination, from its historical origins to the current vaccine regimes provided today and a brief description of the exciting use of vaccines, currently under trial, for the treatment of cancers by DNA vaccines is provided.

Special Features

The module will be linked to a Prize for Immunology (provided by the British Society of Immunology) for the best Immunology student across the second year and third year courses, based on performance in exams.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module will have twelve x 2 hour lectures and a final revision lecture. Teaching will be supplemented with tutorials in which students have to provide summaries on an immunological topic that are suitable for a lay audience. Continual assessment (course work) is in the form of a research project, identifying the function of immune cells and specific receptors/molecules expressed on these cells. There will also be an opportunity to practice immunology exam skills in which direction and feedback are provided. Bullet point answers of topics that should be included in the exam answer will be provided.

Independent Study125
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Janeway, Travers, Walport and Schlomchik. Janeway’s Immunobiology. 

British Immunology Society.

Goldsby, Kindt and Osborne. Kuby’s Immunology. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Library project 20%
Tutorial 5%
Written exam  (2 hours) 75%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written exam  (2 hours) 75%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: (BIOL1011 or BIOL1012) and (BIOL1013 or BIOL1014)

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